United Methodist Church (1840-Present)




From Goodspeed's 1889 History of Cole, Moniteau, etc Counties, Missouri:

The German Methodist Church dates back to 1842, when Rev. S. C. Barth preached at old California and other points having Jefferson and Boonville in his circuit.


From Ford's 1936 History of Moniteau County:

According to the Annals of Methodism, in Missouri by E. W. Stephens, the California Methodist church was first organized in 1840 on Brush Creek in the home of Perry Bailey. Charter members were Perry Bailey and wife, Andrew Bailey and wife, Thomas Hightower and wife, and Edmund Snodgrass and wife. Perry Bailey was afterwards licensed to preach. The services were moved to California in 1847 and the congregation met in the court­house until a church was built in 1855. A second building was erected in 1899. It was completely remodeled, with basement, enlarged auditorium and brick veneer, in 1925­26. The church has a membership of 240.


Stewards include J. T. Lee, George A. Wagner, T, B. McKnight, Roy Handley, R. M. Embry, George P. Stegner, W. S. Lemen, H. W. Crum, Herman Schaffner, Marvin H. Crawford, and Joseph N. Gattermeir.


From the Thursday, April 2, 1914 Moniteau County Herald:


The Methodist Church


The first Methodist Episcopal Church, South, (which is now the machine shop) was built in the fifties, some years before the war.


All the charter members, or nearly so, have gone where the sad farewell never falls on the ear. Among the few we remember, were Bart Jobe and wife and Giles Lee and wife. The old church was taken possession of by the soldiers and used by them for headquarters until 1868, at which time the ladies of the church cleaned up the building and old Brother Hardy (God bless him) commenced services and continued them until conference sent Rev. James Hogan to the church, which then belonged to a circuit, -- Services were held only once a month for many years.


On May 11th, 1890, the present building was dedicated by Bishop E. R. Hendricks. Christians, Presbyterians and Baptists used the old Methodist building until they erected houses of their own.


Our membership at the time of the dedication of the present building numbered about one hundred.


The oldest members now are Harvey Rogers and wife, Emery Moore and wife, Mrs. Rohrbach and Mrs. Mary E. Moore, the latter of whom united with the church February 17th, 1865. At that time, Rev. James Logan was pastor and Rev. J. A. Murphy presiding elder.


Many good and great men have filled the position of pastor. In addition to those named above, we recall the names of Rev. Messrs. Givens, during whose pastorate the present house was built, Long, Hurton, Beasley, Millis, Harris, Stouffer, Smith, Lyons, and Hargrove. The pulpit is now very acceptably filled by Rev. S. P. Clayton.



From the 1980 History of Moniteau County:

The California Methodist Church was organized in 1840 at the home of Perry Bailey on Brush Creek a few miles north of California. Mr. Bailey was the first leader and later the local preacher.


It was the first congregation with a church building in California. Its original house of worship, built in 1847, was at the site of the present church, and each of its buildings has been at the same location. The present church, built in 1889, after many remodeling, remains the framework of the present Sanctuary.


In 1953 the Education Building was added, and in 1963 the interior of the Sanctuary was completely modernized.


On October 17, 1965 the church celebrated its 125th anniversary.


In 1968 the Methodist Church united with the Evangelical United Brethren and formed the United Methodist Church.


This church is alive and well as we strengthen our lives in Christ and answer the call to His ministry.


From the 2000 History of Moniteau County:

The California Methodist Church was organized in 1840 at the home of Perry Bailey on Brush Creek a few miles north of California. Mr. Bailey, who was spoken of as "a most able man," was the first leader and later the local preacher.


In 1847 the congregation moved to town and worshipped in the court house until a church was built in 1855. This was the first church to be built in California. Rev. J.M. Hardy was the local preacher and largely instrumental in the building of the church. It was dedicated by Rev. W. M. Prottsman. The original house was used as a garage in later years and stood on the present Post Office site.


A new frame church was built on the present site in 1889 and was dedicated in May 1890 by Bishop E. R. Hendrix.


During the pastorate of Rev. G. E. Hargis, 1922-1926, the church was remodeled and enlarged to include a comfortable sanctuary, a basement and a kitchen. The frame building was brick veneered at this time and a new organ was installed as a gift of Mrs. Mary Alexander. The building was dedicated on March 28, 1926 by Bishop McMurry.


In 1940 the 100th anniversary of our church was observed with appropriate services. This was during the pastorate of Rev. J. Allen Webb.


In 1953 plans were put into motion for an educational building. This building was completed in February 1954. At that time open house was held to give all interested people an opportunity to see it.


In 1963 while Rev. H. Jared Taylor was pastor, the church was completely modernized; with the new pews, organ, lights, carpet, altar, pulpit, lectern, and communion rail. The sanctuary was remodeled, the educational building re-decorated and extensive changes made in the front entrance and hallway. Work was sufficiently completed to begin using the church again on August 23, 1964.


The church celebrated its sesquicentennial on September 9, 1990 with Bishop W. T. Handy, Jr. bringing the morning message.


In 1992 the church once again embarked on a building project to change and improve the front entrance. A covered landing was added with six curved or arched steps. This project was completed in February 1993.


The church has for many years been involved with three year old playschool and the combined Vacation Bible School with the United Church of Christ and the First Christian Church.


In the mid-1990's the church began seeing the need to enlarge the sanctuary and provide more Sunday School rooms; so in 1998 a gathering area was added on the first floor with two new Sunday School rooms on the second floor and in 1999 the sanctuary was completely renovated and turned so that the congregation now faces west with the choir, pulpit and altar all in the west.


At the present (2000) time the church is moving forward in God's love with the Rev. Carol Koenig as the pastor.


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